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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Road

When I first moved up on this hill, the farm was different; life was also different.  I was very young and from my present view point, knew very little. Not knowing was fine with me as I dove into the days spent at my new home, discovering a geography of hills, gullys, creeks and deer paths.  Our home at that time was much more secluded, being at the end of an almost impassable right-of-way road.

Years ago the road was used by horse and wagon or walkers, but in more recent history a tractor was the main mode of access.  When my husband bought the property where our home stands, he pretty much built the road from scratch, hiring a dozer to lay it out and grade it in an effort to stop the erosion process. The next step included paying to have many loads of gravel brought in for a base. If you live on a gravel/dirt road, then you, too, know that rock will continue to sink into dirt for infinite lifetimes. By the time I moved in, most of the road no longer resembled a bog and in dry weather, was pretty good. 

Can You Find the RoadBy-The-Way, that is the same spruce from the bottom of yesterday's blog with the fake presents

Rain changed everything as the steep hill became a muddy track accessible only with four-wheel drive.  Snow brought even more excitement. That's when our hill became an adventure!  After locking the tire's hubs into four-wheel drive, we would start in the lower part of the lane where it was flat, building as much speed as possible to hit the hill flying in our red, big-wheeled pickup truck.  If we had enough speed we could make it up over the ice and snow, bouncing over a rock ledge then, hopefully have enough momentum to slip and slide over the final hump, grinding the tires into the snow as we barely made it up over the lip of the hill to where we were once again level. At that point the road ahead was was only a vague memory as we drove across a field of snow, then through the woods until we arrived safely to our cabin, parking right at the front door.  A grassy yard and parking circle were still only vague ideas.

Many times it took three or four tries before we made it up the hill, spinning around part way or sliding backwards to the bottom only to try again. Guests would usually have to park at the bottom of the hill while we made trips in the truck to ferry them up to our home. A turning point came the day when a relative drove his jaguar all the way up to the house, parking it with the other guest's vehicles.
That was only the beginning.  The hill part is now blacktop and thousands of dollars of gravel have been sunk into the mud. We are no longer the only house on this hill.  There had always been a small farm down by the highway.  We let them use part of our road for access to their barn when they needed it. Two new homes have been built beside our road, using our driveway for access to their road. After years of road maintenance and thousands of dollars, we spend more time waving to neighbors than we do trying to keep the truck out of the ditch. 
The lane now has a pond on each side allowing a choice to the neighbors ducks and other fowel.  Rather than mud holes and ditches, we now watch out for guineas.  A guinea is one of those animals that appear to be a genetic mix-up.  the verdict is still out as to if they are oddly cute or merely hideous.  The guineas, themselves don't seem to care.  In their ignorant confidence they strut where they will, seeming oblivious to oncoming traffic unless it is to confront it.  A group of the misshapen birds will be politely picking bugs from the grass near the road seemingly content until one of them notices an approaching car and leads the pack into a panicked run into the middle of the road darting about in all directions.  Driving my car slowly, yet steadily forward  allows them to get out of the road in time to avoid the crushing tires. Usually one of the colorful birds makes a last second dart to the other side of the road as it struggles with indecision.

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